“Supporting and empowering women is something that is deeply anchored in the culture of our Maison. From Jeanne Toussaint, Cartier’s first Creative Director during the 1930s, to the Cartier Women’s Initiative, women have long paved the way at Cartier. In this spirit, we are delighted to bring this year’s awards ceremony to North America for the first time, with San Francisco – a hub of innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship – setting the perfect stage.”

– Mercedes Abramo, President, and CEO of Cartier North America 

At the heart of Cartier is their commitment to highlighting and supporting the key role played by women in society, their contribution to the economy and their importance in the world’s development. This year, Cartier has once again partnered with INSEAD Business School and McKinsey & Company to present the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards, purposed for women who run creative, financially viable and impact-driven companies, and who are dedicated to tackling the global challenges of today. Since the birth of the awards in 2006, applications have come from over 18,000 women all over the globe; 205 companies, creating over 7,000 jobs, operating in 52 countries, have been supported by nearly 400 jury members and coaches. For 2019, the overarching theme of the awards is ‘The Ripple Effect’ – the notion that a single action can have an impact that expands outwards incrementally. The theme is specifically aimed to pay tribute to entrepreneurs who spark change and who have grown from within their community out to the broader society.

For the past two years, Cartier’s finale week and prize giving have been held in Singapore, however, for the first time since its beginning the awards this year will take place in North America, in San Fransisco. Also for the first time, Cartier is granting over 1 million dollars in funding, making it one of the largest and most generous competitions for women entrepreneurs in the world. From almost 2,900 applicants across 142 countries (including Japan and Switzerland for the first time), 21 finalists from seven different regions have been selected. Specific to North America, the three finalists include:

Emily Levy (Providence, Rhode Island) – Co-Founder and CEO of Mighty Well

Diagnosed with Chronic Neurological Lyme Disease in her sophomore year, Emily was required to wear a sleeve-like, cut off sock on her arm, in order to cover and protect her PICC line. Emily found the sock to be a constant visible reminder of her illness, she became more fixated on what defined her as sick rather than what defined her as healthy and was then less inclined to do the things she loved. Emily was driven to find a solution, quickly realizing the potential to help many other people in similar situations. Mighty Well is now firmly established in providing a growing line of functional and stylish medical accessories that give confidence and mobility back to individuals managing a health setback.


Ran Ma (San Francisco, California) – Co-Founder and CEO of Siren 

While working in the wound lab at Northwestern University, Biomedical Engineer Ran Ma learned that over 100,000 lower limb amputations took place each year due to diabetic foot ulcers. Ma sparked the initial concept for Siren’s Smart Sock made of Neurofabric; an innovative, wearable health technology, that monitor’s the foot’s temperature and guards against foot ulcers.  This technology can be easily integrated into the user’s everyday life, helping to prevent often fatal complications.


Margaret Magdesian (Montreal, Canada ) – CEO and Founder of ANANDA (Advanced Nano Design Applications) Devices

With over 15 years of experience in biopharmaceutical research, Dr. Margaret Magdesian, BSc Pharmacology, Ph.D. Biochemistry (University of São Paulo, Brazil), grew tired of the inefficient and expensive process of drug development. Now, having collaboration with researchers from McGill University over an 8 year period, Dr. Magdesian’ s innovative work has the potential to radically accelerate the process of new drug development, bringing it into the 21st century.

With great adoration for the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards, we look forward to following the events in San Fransisco taking place from April 25 to May 3 and wish all the finalists well in their bright futures.

Full List of Finalists: 

North America

Emily Levy – Mighty Well

Ran Ma – Siren

Margaret Magdesian – ANANDA Devices

Latin America 

Tatiana Pimenta – Vittude

Marcela Torres – Holacode

Liza Velarde – Delee


Tracy O’Rourke – Vivid Edge

Sylke Hoehnel – SUN Bioscience

Zineb Agoumi – EzyGain

Middle East and North Africa 

Aline Sara – NaTakallam

Hibah Shata – Maharat Learning Centre

Reine Abbas – Spica Tech

East Asia

Claire Yan – Cobbler’s Suggest

Saaya Nakayama – SHE Inc.

Yeon Jeong Cho – YAY Global

South Asia & Oceania

Priya Prakash – HealthSetGo

Fariel Salahuddin – UpTrade

Carmina Bayombong – InvestEd

Sub-Saharan Africa 

Manka Angwafo – Grassland Cameroon Ltd.

Chebet Lesan – BrightGreen Renewable Energy

Caitlin Dolkart – Flare